* Press release…
Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Tuesday:
“Over the past several weeks, I have had meetings with members, staff and lobbyists to discuss issues of sexual harassment. Due to my recent meetings with staff, I felt it necessary to address some of the concerns they raised directly with the members of the House Democratic Caucus. The statement below was delivered to the caucus this afternoon:
“A handout you received during last week’s caucus detailed complaints brought to the chief of staff, directors, supervisors and the ethics officer over the last five years, including sexual harassment complaints made by staff against members. I want to be crystal clear - it is inappropriate for members to make sexual comments or sexual advances to, or engage in sexual relationships with, staff, whether that person is employed directly by you, the Office of the Speaker, or another caucus. This applies to both male and female legislators.
“It is clear from my discussions that staff view you as their superiors or supervisors, and with that you are in positions of power over them. This dynamic is ripe for potential harassment. I expect each of you to treat staff with respect and keep your relationships strictly professional. If I become aware of any complaints against a member by staff, or another member, I will personally get involved to put an end to it.”
*** UPDATE *** Alaina Hampton press release…
“Speaker Madigan now says he is committed to getting ‘personally involved’ in preventing sexual harassment. That may prove to be a step forward–but today, it rings hollow. The Speaker had three months to get ‘personally involved’ in my case, but took no action until he knew the story was about to come out.
“Perhaps my telling my own story publicly, combined with the EEOC’s notification of my right to sue last week, has caused the Speaker to have a revelation about his ethical and moral obligation to those who have been harassed and even assaulted in his own organization. More likely, he’s being driven to action by the threat of losing his grip on power–not by any personal concern for the well being of the women in the House Democratic Caucus or the Democratic Party of Illinois.
“I, and countless other victims and survivors, will be watching the Speaker’s next moves closely. We are hopeful that he will back up his words with meaningful and swift action.”